There are several education programs out there that start at the preschool level and go all the way through high school. One in particular is the Montessori program. This program is recognized as one which fosters independence and learning through curiosity and personal exploration. If it sounds like something in which you might want to enroll your child, here are a few guidelines to help you gauge if your child could participate and succeed in this program.
Your Child Has the Ability to Focus and Stay on Point for Topics That Peak His/Her Interest
A big part of the Montessori program involves pursuing a topic to the "nth" degree. For example, if your child zeroes in on ladybugs and wants to know absolutely everything about them and everything that relates to them tangentially, then he or she might be a good fit for the Montessori way of learning. In the Montessori classroom, learning and teaching is student-led and student-focused, which means that the teachers act more as facilitators of the information the children use to create projects and research topics in-depth. Your child's ability to stay on track in the classroom and not wander about is also important, since he or she needs to stay focused on the chosen learning topic.
Your Child Has to Have Some Level of Self-Discipline
As your child progresses from preschool into elementary school and continues in the Montessori program, he or she will gain a litte more self-discipline along the way. However, this personality trait already should be present in a child that is enrolled at the preschool level. Much of this program relies on project work, deadlines and staying on task/ working on things a little bit every day. The children who are the most successful in this program are the ones who are already self-disciplined enough to finish everything they start and follow directions fully. While Montessori teachers allow for individual developmental milestones to develop at their own rates in each child, it is still important that your child be able to progress with his or her peers, and a modicum of self-discipline helps.
Montessori and the Special Needs Child
While Montessori is an all-inclusive program, it is important to note that children with special needs may struggle in the classroom. Montessori programs are self-directed, and a special needs child who has trouble choosing between playing with a ball and playing with manipulatives/small muscle toys may have a slightly rougher time of it. Teacher's aids to support these children are available, but again, because they are supposed to facilitate and help direct learning topics rather than teach them straight to the student, a special needs child may experience some struggles. However, if your special needs child is able to overcome these struggles in the Montessori program, then he or she may become quite successful in it.
For more information, talk to a someone like Montessori Of Woodridge.